Salisbury Housing Trust proposes two affordable homes

SALISBURY — The Planning and Zoning Commission held a public hearing on the application from the Salisbury Housing Trust (SHT) on Monday, June 3. The hearing was continued to Monday, June 17.

SHT’s plans propose building two affordable housing single family 3-bedroom homes at 26 and 28 Undermountain Road.

P&Z chair Michael Klemens began by saying that the commission had discussed concepts with the housing trust, but that concepts are not the same as plans in an application for a special permit.

He said that when the P&Z did an “8-24 review” to determine if the SHT’s concept was consistent with the town’s Plan of Conservation and Development, the commission found that building two homes at the site was consistent. Preserving the existing park is also consistent with the POCD, Klemens added.

Jennifer Kronholm Clark gave the presentation for the SHT.

She said consultant Pat Hackett had prepared two options. Option one keeps the informal parking lot in the front of the property, adds two houses, and has a small open space in the rear.

Option two removes the parking area off Undermountain Road and puts the first house there, with the second house and a larger open space in the rear.

She said the housing trust prefers the second option.

Public comment was mixed. Robin Roraback, who lives near the site, said the parking lot is used regularly by White Hart employees and during events such as the recent Salisbury Handmade artisans sale.

She said the housing would make the neighborhood more crowded and noisy. She also mentioned a pair of 300-year-old oak trees on the property.

Other neighbors were okay with the housing but concerned about the oak trees.

Another neighbor, Holly Leibrock, preferred “Option three: Neither.”

She said the parking is also used by the Salisbury Volunteer Ambulance Service and the existing park should be expanded, not reduced.

Other residents expressed their belief that affordable housing is important to the town and favored the idea.

Klemens sent a memo to the housing trust with a list of additional information for the next session of the hearing. The list includes: an arborists assessment of the health of the two old oak trees, confirmation that the two lots that make up the site have been legally merged and that there are no deed restrictions, an A2 survey, complete engineering details, 14 aspects of the site plan that need to be completed, a clarification on the special permit application, and a request to address the question of whether the existing parking area is impervious by compaction.

All of these materials are on the town’s website under Planning and Zoning Meeting Documents.

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